Kelly Dodd Says She Was 'Blindsided' by Her 'Real Housewives of Orange County' Exit

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Kelly Dodd didn't see her Real Housewives of Orange County exit coming. The 45-year-old former reality star appeared on SiriusXM's Jeff Lewis Live alongside her husband, Rick Leventhal, and revealed that she was "blindsided" by her firing from the Bravo series.

"I had no idea... I was blindsided," Dodd said of finding out she'd been let go. "... One of the owners of Evolution, the production company... he called me and he said, 'I would hate to say this... but we are not going to ask you back for next season.'"

Dodd said she asked the producer why she was being fired, and was told, "Bravo wanted to take a different direction than you.'" She also said that she asked if her Q ratings, which Leventhal described as "a measure of popularity for people on TV," were to blame for her firing, and got a surprising response.

"This is a business. We're here to sell advertising. This is how we make the money, right? I mean, pushing the needle. So I said, 'Was it because I wasn't popular enough or what was it?'" Dodd recalled. "And he said, 'This is the first time ever that Bravo did not share your Q ratings with us. All of you guys.'"

Leventhal, 61, speculated that Bravo chose not to share Q ratings because Dodd's "Q score was super high and it didn't support them taking her off the show."

"There's no one more popular than her. Even if people hate her, they love to hate her, they love to watch her. She was the brightest spark on that show... I was very surprised [by her firing] because even though she's been so controversial, she’s still great television," he said. "... But that said, it's their choice to make. If they don't want her back, they don't want her back."

Dodd, meanwhile, thinks she was fired because of the group of viewers that dislike her because of her past actions. She previously made headlines for controversial remarks about COVID-19 -- including declaring the pandemic was "God's way of thinning the herd" -- and wearing a hat that was seen as insensitive toward the Black Lives Matter movement. Dodd later said she felt "regret" over her statements.

"You want somebody to love to hate you, or you want people to really love you. I have... 800,000 followers on Instagram, 200 on Twitter, and then a lot on Facebook. I have a million followers and they are diehard fans, and they love me," she said. "I have this little group of people that are the cancel culture that hate me. They're the loud ones... The woke, broke people. So yeah, they love to hate me, and that's fine. You want that too, right? You don't want fricking milk toast."

Still, Dodd said, "Ultimately I got fired because of myself. I'm the one who got myself fired... I was causing them a lot of grief. I was causing them a lot of trouble. And you know, I'm sorry about that. Like, I feel bad."

Braunwyn Windham-Burke and Elizabeth Lyn Vargas will likewise not return for the next season of RHOC, while Heather Dubrow will rejoin the cast. While they were both on the show, Windham-Burke and Dodd fought over political views amid the presidential election and the surge of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Following their exits, screenshots of a text conversation between the women appeared to show that Dodd wrote, "This was your fault. We’d still be on the show if you didn’t make things so dark and ugly and brought all that political 'woke' BS. Your lies about me, calling me a racist and a homophobe were horribly destructive and your phony storylines didn’t help either."

While on Jeff Lewis Live, Dodd said Windham-Burke "was probably the worst human being I have ever worked with ever in my whole entire life."

"She just wanted so much attention on her. She told everybody that it was going to be her show and that she wants her own show... She was just a fake wacko," Dodd said. "... I don't believe anything she has to say, she is a liar. She... said that I was a racist, just like Heather Dubrow called me a racist, too. Like, look, I'm married to a Jew. Everybody loves to say the racist thing... She said I was a racist. I was homophobic."

When ET spoke to Windham-Burke earlier this month, she revealed how she felt about Dodd's comments towards her.

"I think it's hard to take accountability, and when you're angry, it's easier to blame someone else than to take accountability," she said. "I think people do that in a lot of things in their lives. It's easier to be angry than sad. And so I'm not going to take that personally."

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